Board of Governors Chair, 2021-23
How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him! (Psalm 147:1)
March 8, 2020. That’s the date that hymns were last sung inside Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel before we closed due to COVID. Gradually we have resumed some of our order of worship during the 10:00 a.m. service. On May 15, 2021, the Board of Governors approved the complete reopening of the Chapel and all its activities. We joyously celebrated this news during worship the following day by singing the congregational hymns “Praise Him! Praise Him!” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Also, for the first time since March 8, 2020, the choir loft was filled with singers. Another reassuring sight was the return of the hymnals and Bibles to the pews, and finally, the passing of the offertory plates and the use of church bulletins. Praise Him that we have reached this milestone!
At this time, EAMC has no requirements or recommendations for social distancing or mask wearing. We welcome those who feel more comfortable wearing masks to continue to do so. We will continue to provide hand sanitizer at entryways into the Chapel. Last fall we installed ionizing air filters to provide the cleanest air possible in our buildings. As a side note, the blue ribbons that marked our pews for social distancing have found a new home with the Kingdom Crafters. I’m sure they will soon find a way to recycle them!
Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16])
This past year has been very difficult for many businesses and churches throughout our state and country. We have witnessed many of them either close or suffer an inability to meet their budgets. I am happy to report that, thanks to the generous contributions from our affiliates, Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel is financially sound. In addition, we have reached an initial benchmark of $100,000 in our Endowment Fund. This gives us hope that we can one day reach our long-term endowment goal of $5 million. We humbly thank you for your continued support of our Chapel.
The purchase of the Fellowship House has given us many places to worship God. A part of the building houses the Respite Apartment for active Christian missionaries. The idea to provide them with a restful place during their furloughed time in the states became a reality in 2012. During the first year there were two families that used the three-bedroom apartment. As the news spread from one missionary family to the next, our occupied weeks began to grow. We had our largest number of invited families in 2020, filling the apartment for 27 weeks. The 2021 calendar indicates we may see even more families this year.
To see photos of the comfortable, well-appointed apartment that the missionaries and their families enjoy, click here. If you know of any missionaries who could use a comforting and relaxing break, tell them about this ministry!
Sing a Joyful Song of Praise
Now that we have returned to our normal worship service, my usual seat on Sunday morning is in the choir loft. I love singing the beautiful songs that our choir director Merle Morris selects each week, which share the message of God’s love and grace. Some of my earliest church memories are singing in the children’s programs we would have throughout the year. Many of you understand the power of music. Singing “old favorites” has been shown to boost your mood. Have you ever been moved to tears by the lyrics of a song? Do you have a favorite hymn that makes you feel closer to God?
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are urged to lift their voices in songs of praise to Him. “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I whom you have delivered” (Psalm 71:23) and “Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” (Isaiah 12:5) are just two of these verses. It is my hope and prayer that we can continue to hear the joyful sounds of singing in our Chapel on Sunday mornings. May we forever sing praises to you, my God.
I am happy to report that during our March meeting, the Board of Governors voted to have all of the Chapel’s usual Holy Week activities, albeit with some modifications. See more information about the schedule above. The Board continues to monitor the need for safety measures put in place last year in response to COVID-19. They moved to allow Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups to return to in-person meetings. The Board looks forward to taking more steps towards complete reopening at our next meeting in May.
Outside Pavilion Study
Last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, we spent many months under a big tent in the grassy area beside the Fellowship House. We mainly used the tent for our Sunday worship services, but it was also available for youth activities and a picnic meal. The Board of Governors is currently studying the feasibility of a permanent open pavilion in this area. This sheltered area would be large enough to host a variety of activities. The use of moveable furniture would also make the pavilion multi-functional. The Board and I would love to hear your ideas on this project.
History Committee Chairperson Needed
We are currently looking for a person to chair the History Committee. This committee is responsible for gathering and preserving the records of the life and activities of the Chapel. If you like history or you like keeping things organized, we could use you on this committee. Contact Debo Bell, email@example.com.
The Power of Prayer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
This is one of my favorite Bible verses. It’s highlighted in pink in my Bible, along with other verses that comfort me or give me direction. I do believe in the power of prayer. I pray often throughout the day, sometimes it’s just a short prayer of petition and at another time, a more focused prayer. One prayer may be a simple thank you for God’s creation as I walk the beach or view one of our majestic sunsets.
Jesus Christ taught us how to pray. We know that Jesus prayed with others and he prayed alone. He prayed in public as well as in private. He prayed before meals, before healing, before making important decisions. He taught us the importance of prayer. As we reread the Easter story in the Gospel, we come to Jesus praying in Gethsemane. This passage details Jesus praying not once, not twice, but three times during the hours after the Last Supper and his arrest.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. (Romans 15:30)
These are Paul’s words in the book of Romans, but Jesus also believed in the power of praying for others. Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel faithfully believes in intercessory prayers. Prayer requests are given during Sunday worship services and during Men’s and Women’s weekly Bible Studies. We have an active prayer chain. Prayer requests are included in our newsletters. We are currently looking for more ways to provide an avenue for those needing our prayers. Two things we are investigating is a way to include a prayer request link on our webpage and adding a prayer request box somewhere on the chapel’s grounds.
Worship: Good Signs
It is good to see affiliates returning to the Chapel for the Sunday morning worship service. On two recent Sundays, we averaged 60 in attendance and 50 devices connected to livestreaming. There may be more than one viewer on a device so it is difficult to determine the true number of viewers; 78% of the viewers were watching live and 22% watched the recorded service. We had viewers from nine states, mostly from the southeast. We are very thankful to have the livestreaming capacity and thank the gentlemen who keep it running each Sunday and Maria McDonald who ensures that livestreaming is on the website.
Easter is the time that some affiliates return to the island. We hope to see you at one of our services.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow! Happy Easter!